Vitamin D status in professional ballet dancers: winter vs. summer

J Sci Med Sport. 2013 Sep;16(5):388-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2012.12.010. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Objective: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is produced by the exposure of the skin to sunlight. Therefore athletes who train indoors, such as dancers, are vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status in UK professional dancers during periods of reduced and increased sunlight exposure (i.e., winter vs. summer), and to assess the impact on bone metabolism and risk of injury.

Design: Cohort study.

Methods: 19 elite classical ballet dancers (age 26±8.86yr; height 1.66±8.84m; mass 54.3±10.47kg) were monitored over a 6 month period for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, PTH and blood serum bone turnover markers (CTX and PINP) along with injury data. Repeated measure ANOVA and Wilcoxon and Chi-square analyses were used and significance was set at p≤0.05.

Results: Significant changes were noted between the winter and summer test dates for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (14.9ng/ml vs. 23.9ng/ml; p<0.001), PTH (38.7pg/ml vs. 26.3pg/ml; p<0.001) and PINP (89.9ng/ml vs. 67.6ng/ml; p<0.01). The oral contraceptive had a significant effect on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, PTH and CTX. Soft tissue injuries were significantly lower in summer compared to winter period (winter=24, summer=13; p<0.05).

Conclusions: Professional ballerinas characterized by a high incidence of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels which improve marginally in the summer. These dancers also demonstrate a higher injury incidence in the winter. Oral contraception seems to increase serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and has a positive effect on bone metabolism.

Keywords: Bone metabolism; Injury; Oral contraceptive; Vitamin D.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dancing / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Seasons*
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D